Research and the blog: The medium is not the message

Dear students,

As I see your invisible wanderings page by page with nothing overlooked in the index section – yes, I'm tracking you guys from tu delft particularly of late – I have a small request to make. I understand that academia considers the "blog" an informal medium, with low credibility as a reference or citation, particularly if you are submitting to the most rigourous and obscure journals, not simply writing a conference paper or making a presenation. However, I do hope that somewhere in your acknowledgements section you will find a valid way to mention your sources, all of them. Such as the body of work under the "bottom of the pyramid" category you come back to so diligently every night for hours at  a time, here on this ephemeral website. These are still the result of hard work, deep and considered thought, and based on walking through the villages, making observations. They deserve to be acknowledged, simply blog posts on the anonymous world wide web though they may be, accessible via google right at your desktop.

I'll address again at some point the increasing chasm I'm seeing between what academia considers credit able sources, and the real world where things change from day to day. Never has the ivory tower felt so distant or so closed. Soon, as information technology and McLuhan's visions manifest themselves more and more, it is a divide that we must find a way to bridge, if only so that what we do and say and hear and learn feeds back and informs the processes, methods and cases emerging from your hallowed hallls and vice versa. The rate of speed of information flow, as evidenced by twitter feeds and RSS that keep our conversations ongoing everyday, might make your "not to be published for a year or more" research irrelevant to the real world challenges and situations we observe and deal with every day.

In the meantime, I simply posit some questions to you all out there reading this, whether you are practitioner, theoretician or somewhere in between – what is the role of a concept or idea or finding, if it is simply in a "blog post" or "personal website"? Where does it stand in the continuum of credible sources and is this a rigid definition? Will this state continue or will our perceptions of the value or reference ability of material evolve along with the way our communication tools are changing the way we share and publish our materials?


just another blogger

This entry was posted in Bottom of the pyramid/Poverty, Culture & research, Design. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Research and the blog: The medium is not the message

  1. Meena Kadri says:

    Hear, hear Niti!
    Website Citation ( maybe helpful for grabbing sources as one goes that may be used for academic referencing, including Twitter. More info here:
    But I hear you that its often the conversation that’s essential to nurture – over the academic endpoints – in terms of research impact. Actually IMHO it should be compulsory for salaried academics to blog.

Comments are closed.